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August 30, 2019 U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) on Thursday announced more than $123 million in federal funding to improve emergency preparedness across Illinois

For Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded state and local authorities, transportation agencies, and port facility operators in Illinois preparedness grants totaling $123,916,337 to prevent and respond to acts of terrorism and other hazards.

In a Press Release on Thursday, Senator Durbin said:

“The federal government plays a critical role in providing states the resources they need to keep citizens safe from threats.  Illinois will be better prepared for acts of terrorism, hate, and other kinds of violence because of today’s federal funding,” Durbin said.

Senator Durbin went on to say that while he was pleased to see several Illinois synagogues received crucial security funding, he was disappointed with the Trump Administration for not awarding grants to Illinois institutions representing other vulnerable religious minorities like Muslim and Sikh Americans. Durbin said he hoped the disparity would be remedied in the future.

Senator Tammy Duckworth said she was proud to support such grants that ensure the resources necessary to communities that strengthen their emergency preparation capabilities and keep people safe.

On April 12, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the release of Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Notices of Funding Opportunity for eight DHS preparedness grant programs totaling more than $1.7 billion.

After the massacre at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, Senator Durbin (D-IL) sent letters to religious institutions and houses of worship across Illinois to make them aware of an important federal funding opportunity for nonprofit organizations to ensure they have the necessary resources to improve their security. Durbin helped secure $60 million in nonprofit security grant funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019, which was signed into law in February.

To see a complete list of Nonprofit Urban and Non-Urban Security Grant Program recipients, click HERE.

PLACES OF WORSHIP TARGETED

In recent months, there have been several deadly attacks on places of worship on holy days around the world. In April, a gunman opened fire at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue outside San Diego, California on the last day of Passover. The attack took place exactly six months after a shooting on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh that killed eleven people. Christian church attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday killed over 300 people, and 51 people were killed in two mosques attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.

In April, the United States Department of Homeland Security and FBI issued a joint bulletin expressing concern about the coordinated Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka, expressing concerns that a similar attack could happen in America. The joint bulletin stressed that no confirmed plot similar to the Sri Lanka attack had been found in the United States but noted that religious institutions and soft targets are attractive to terrorists and incredibly hard to secure.

In February, the FBI, DHS, and The National Counterterrorism Center issued a joint intelligence bulletin following several recent violent incidents targeting faith-based communities. The bulletin cites incidents where Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith-based communities were targeted in the past two years, noting how they “underscore the persistent threat domestic actors pose to faith-based communities in the United States, particularly against perceived soft targets such as religious and cultural facilities.”

SEE ALSO: DHS WARNS OF DOMESTIC TERRORISM THREAT

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